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Work begins to shore up ancient Pompeii's ruins; In Florence, Uffizi ceiling fragment falls

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ROME - Work has begun to shore up Pompeii's fragile ruins, following several collapses in the sprawling ancient Roman city.

The tourist attraction near Naples is chronically short of state funds. Helping pay for the latest restoration is more than €40 million ($55 million) in European Union funds, which an EU commissioner, Johannes Hahn, in Pompeii on Wednesday, described as an important step toward rescuing the archaeological complex from modern-day ruin. In 2010, torrential rain caused the collapse of a wall in Pompeii, and a frescoed building where gladiators prepared for battle crumbled into a pile of dust.

In Florence, a piece of 16th-century frescoed ceiling in the Uffizi museum fell off Wednesday during work. No one was hit by the fragments, which gallery officials said would be put back in place.

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